Trial Witness Statements under CPR Practice Direction 57AC—Where Are We Now?

30 June 2022
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Key takeaways:
  • One year from the release of Practice Direction 57AC (Witness Evidence at Trial), a number of recent cases have provided welcome guidance on its application and clarified some of the uncertainty surrounding witness statements for use at trial in the Business and Property Courts.
  • The cases suggest that the Courts are using Practice Direction 57AC as a tool to improve the content of witness statements, rather than as a means to punish non-compliance. To this end, the cases demonstrate that parties should use the Practice Direction as a genuine recourse to correcting statements that offend it, rather than as a weapon of litigation.
  • Compliance with the Practice Direction is primarily a matter for the parties; the parties should only seek the assistance of the Court where they have failed to reach agreement on whether and how a witness statement materially breaches the Practice Direction.